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Crucial Conversations Summary | Rystandard

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Cover_Images_Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High written by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan.

What is a Crucial Conversation?

Conversation is a daily chats, you do with your friends, colleague, relative and coworker. But, sometimes these small conversations turn into a serious issue and have a huge impact in our lives.

As you know the importance of crucial conversations. But, you often back out, Why? Because you think you make the matter worse. In the time of crucial conversation, most people do one of the three things:

  • You can avoid it.
  • You can face it and handle poorly
  • You can face it and handle well.

In a crucial conversation, you are at your worst behavior. Therefore, you will say the things later you regret. We designed wrong, as the conversation turns into a touchy issue our emotion prepares us to fight. As two tiny organs sit upon kidney, pump adrenaline into the bloodstream. Then, the larger muscles of the body (arms and legs) get more blood in comparison to the brain. Therefore, the brain gets less blood. And it reduces the ability to make a quality decision.

Forming the pool of information in conversation.

The dialog is a process of forming the pool of information in which every member can contribute their thoughts and feelings. In this step, you do not need to worry about what she is saying, but the goal is to help her to put out the thoughts and feelings. Start playing safe, otherwise, she will end up the conversation in the debate. Construct the environment so that she can freely share her views, thoughts, and opinion. Even her opinion sounds controversial.

Focus on what you want from conversation.

To deal with a crucial conversation. You must control your emotions. And ask “What I want from this?” Because when you do not know what you want, you will lose temper and start arguing. Whisper in our head “What I want from this?” Because it helps the body sends sufficient bloods to the parts of the brain that helps to solve complex problems.

During a serious conversation, the level of adrenaline increases and you will lose the ability to make quality decisions. As part of the brain, responsible for decision making gets less blood. So it affects decision-making ability.

The habit of a successful communicator is that they know their end goals. Therefore, they do not make foolish choices. Asking what you want, help your brain to keep the focus on the end goal and stop you from distraction.

Learn to look at the safety sign in conversation.

The first step is to observe the content of the conversation (the topic you are taking) and the second is to check how she is reacting. Train your brain to see when the conversation turns crucial, for some people their eye gets dried, for other their stomach gets tight or emotions reaches their peak. Everyone has a different sign, what is your sign?

As these signs indicate to step back and build safety. If you are unable to build safety then she will end up in silence or violence. In the time of serious conversations, your emotion starts boiling up and when you do not feel safe. The brain starts shutting down and your emotion prepares you for a fight.

Make It Safe so you can talk about anything.

So far now we talk about, building safety, now, you will learn how to build safety. To prevent conversation to turn into a crucial conversation, you have to start with these two areas.

  • Mutual Purpose
  • Mutual Respect

The mutual purpose is not a technique that works on your benefit. It is a way to provide an outcome that works for both favors.

The best at dialog use four skills to build mutual purpose. Here is the step-by-step procedure to create a mutual purpose. The four skills can learn with the acronym of CRIB:

  • Commit to seek mutual purpose.
  • Recognize the purpose behind the strategy.
  • Invent a mutual purpose.
  • Brainstorm new strategies.

Do not forget to respect others emotions and feelings. You must have respect the person you are speaking; Otherwise, the mutual purpose will take a back seat and you end up in a debate.

How to remain in Dialogue When You are Angry.

Example: Consider a presentation in which Maria with her colleague Louis delivering the presentation, turning the slide and explaining the meaning. In the meantime, Louis was standing on the other side of the stage waiting for his turn while Maria giving the presentation. After a few minutes later, Maria hold for a second to take a breath, Louis begins to deliver the content deliver almost 95% of the content.

Maria becomes furious about Louis behavior. In the end, when Maria get his chances back, there is nothing left to say. Maria begins to feel dishonest. So she decides, she will not talk to Louis(taking a cheap shot.

Now in the example Maria taking the cheap shot. She thoughts, it is the valid response, she can take. But she does not realize that it was not her response, it is the response of her emotions. In this case, Maria describes the story in her mind that Louis describes all the points. So he gets an opportunity to meet the boss privately.

This story generates emotion, and she takes the decision(not talking to Louis). The decision was based on her emotion. Like Maria, most people react in two way either silence or violence. But you can tell a different story. You can control the story by re-telling to yourself. This helps you to master your emotions.

It is your story that urges you to take action. You can retrace your path and build safety from the beginning. The first step is to stop doing ‘what you are doing’ and then think ‘why you are doing this’. Through this, you will reach the starting point where you distract from the conversation. Analysis your story. As it helps you to determine the story you are playing in your mind that cause you to generate emotions.

Tools to convence partner in crucial conversation.

Five tools that help you to manage the touchy conversation in a better way.

  1. Share your facts.
  2. Tell your story.
  3. Ask for others path.
  4. Talk tentatively.
  5. Encourage testing.

The starting three points help you to describe “what to do” and the last two describe “how to do it”. Here you can do the depth study of these points.

Share your facts: Facts helps you to start with the safe side of a conversation. If you do not know the fact, take the time to gather it. As it is the homework you need to do before starting a crucial conversation. Do not just stick with the facts. After gathering facts, dress up your facts and convert it into a story. Now, you should describe how you see the conversation from beginning to the end. So she can see the issue from your side.

Tell your story: When you begin to tell your story(facts), in the meanwhile, you should check the safety. You must ensure that she does not lose her temper.  To do that, use contrasting, just blaming her is not the solution. Use contrasting to point out what you like and what you do not.

Ask for other paths: At the end of this step, you will know ‘how to do’, till now you have learned ‘what to do’. If the above two steps did not work perfectly then you should implement the third-step. To do this, you have to encourage your partner to express her feeling, thoughts, and stories. Listen to her carefully even when the stories were controversial because this adds the information in the pool.

Talk tentatively: It is a process of saying your facts in the form of a story rather than facts. As it is difficult for a mind to digest hard facts.

Encourage testing: Encourage her to share her story so she can add meaning in the pool. It matters how you invite another person to share their feelings and thoughts. Develop a genuine interest that seems you are interested in their talk.

Tools to urge our partner to speak.

Four tools that boost your listening skills. You can remember this with an acronym (AMPP) ask, mirror, paragraphs, and prime. These tools encourage her to speak even when she was in silence mode or violence mode.

Ask: The first step is to ask her to share her.

Mirroring suits when the emotions and body posture are not coordinating with each other. Mirroring is a technique of listening to her stories with respect to emotions.

Paraphrase: Asking and mirroring help you to pour out her feelings and thoughts, but when you get the idea of what she is feeling, then, you can use paraphrasing. Paraphrasing helps you to build additional safety. Paraphrase her emotion and feelings but do not use the exact word. Be careful not to repeat what she is saying.

Priming is used when she is still in silence or violence mode. In this case, you should go for priming. Priming is a technique to offer your best guess of the situation so that she can open up. Now if what happens? after applying (AAMP) she opens up and starts sharing her views. But, if you did not agree with her stories. At this moment, you should go for ABC (Agree, build, and compare).

Sometimes, it is not necessary that both have the same opinions. Instead of blaming and saying you are wrong. You should say “I think I see things differently” and share our path via ABC skills.

Agree: if you agree with the other person point of view. That’s ok, but if you not deny it politely.

Build: If you did not agree, clearly point out, where you agree and where you not.

Compare: When two of you see things differently. Do not say, you are wrong, simply compare your views.

outcome of the crucial conversation.

The best decision is made by turning the final choice to others. Especially peoples that influence the outcome. You can use three tools to make a quality decision.

Consult: Invite other people so that they can add their thought in the pool before making the final decision.

Voted: as the name suggests. It is used to find a better answer in two or more alternative.

Consensus: It is a bit of frustrating process as it takes everyone opinion for making the last decision.

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Above article is the extract version of the book “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High” written by “Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan”.


Rahul is a WordPress writer and the founder of Rystandard.com. A blog to encourage you to make changes for the better. If you would like to connect, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

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